This is going to be a long one, but I have reasons to believe it’s going to be a good one as well. . . for quite a number of readers. Please exercise patience and bear with me on this to the end. Thanks.
* * * * *
The night came and the town was back to the usual — dead. Unlike in the cities where the dusk marks the genesis of myriads of activities and events, it is a cue in a small town so proximate to nature that the time has come to retire. Light out doesn’t really help matters.
On this day the moon was full; it shone with such radiance that one could pick a cricket chirping from deep within its thick bushy abode. The accompanying enthusiasm gave an aero-feeling that generates a penchant for flight, but of course, there’s only one outcome — crash landing.
Amidst the rush, the tale of the old werewolf legend — where half-men transmogrify into fierce wolves on full moons — came to fore. Many thanks to media exposure, it was animated in 3D so fast, but I managed to shut it out. I needed to power my devices several houses away and I could only get there through a narrow lonely path flanked on both sides by thick tall bushes, bespectacled by a huge mountain; the complete recipe for fear.
As I began my trek, I felt different. The refulgent moon triggered an ecstasy, paving way for a more subtle and smile-bearing thought. My mind flashed to the times when my siblings, close relatives and I would gather round a particular humorous uncle to listen to stories and folk tales under the mega bulb above. He does it better than a puppet; playing all the roles and mimicking all the characters with great deal of ingenuity and effects.
I was so engrossed I had no idea I was already putting out my heart in words. “Uncle Fisoye, please tell us stories. . .” came out freely in a childish tone. The smile that followed was the type I’m sure would have a sparkle in the disney world. However, normalcy came when I realised I was alone and talking to myself; an act recognised as the beginning of mental imbalance in most parts of the country. Facts told me it could mean I’m intelligent though [clears throat].
Although quick paces replaced the soliloquy in no time, my thought proved quicker, a replica perhaps. It was patiently waiting for me at my destination. I was taken aback by the sight there: a third party view of my childhood, but in a separate compound this time. My night was just about to begin.
Kids from the household (a very large one. . . my destination) and a few from houses nearby gathered round a spot, sitting on the cold sand, preparing for what is to follow. My main mission was thwarted when the old near-scrap generator decided to go on a sabbatical leave that night, but I wasn’t bothered. Light out actually accentuated the tales-by-moonlight-ish picture. I took a stool and switched to another mission — sight-seeing.
This is where it gets interesting. If you’ve read this far please continue. We’re getting there. It would get better.
They sang, giggled, shared riddles. . . and then regaled stories. Herein lies the crux of this rant and I’d like to share a story myself. It’s a means to an important end. Should I? Please? Thanks. Even though you probably said no, thanks all the same; for changing your mind and reading on of course.
(This is where you’ll say ‘story.’ You know how it goes *smiles*)
Once upon a time. . .
second third thought, methinks we don’t need go through a story that is best left for kids. But I’ll delve into the points all the same.
I remember one of the kids telling a story about the tortoise. Well, it’s most times about the tortoise. Don’t know what that thing did to everyone to deserve both hype and scorn. Very tricky and more die-hard-ish than Bruce Willis himself (though a live one is what I’ll call “mumu”, for simplicity sake). Even though I was there, I had begun another journey into my own childhood so I couldn’t even make out the details.
One thing of course is certain: ridiculous things have a way of dragging one to reality, even if the trance is that of paradise. The moment he started saying “so the tortoise killed the deer, cooked and ate it”. . . “the tortoise stole yam from the owl’s farm”. . . “the tortoise bargained with the iroko spirit”. . . “the tortoise rode the
ferrari horse”. . . the critic in me took over. I was like, “Ogini?! Kilode gan?!! What is it?!! You people have started o! Can’t someone just enjoy his evening?”
“So you’re telling me that the tortoise can kill a deer (How?). . . that he is carnivorous, but not a savage; he cooks his meals and spices it up (say with maggi and other condiments. How?). . . that the tortoise, the legendary sluggish dude, stole from the swift owl (by the way, how can an owl farm?). . . and the most ridiculous of all, that the tortoise rode a horse! An animal riding another. Haba! This is not fair! HOW?”
Of course these analyses were all unfolding in my mind. I must have forgotten the good old days or probably outgrown them, for the ridicules and impossible events are the main ingredients of the folklores; the ones we dearly savour. The longer and more eventful they are (even if na lie), the more we giggle and enjoy them.
Irrespective of these shortcomings and the unrealistic nature of these stories, they are nonetheless told through generations to impact good morales into the young wards. Every story has at least a lesson to be derived; to modify behaviours and shape lives concurrently as we have fun. It actually worked for some of us. For some others it didn’t. I can’t say for the butter-bred (aje-butters I mean) and the several I-live-in-Ajah others who didn’t have the privilege. In that area they’re underprivileged too.
Here I’ll digress a bit. Nowadays we have lots of absurd happenings all around. Funny cum ludicrous open letters occupy a section of the examples. I have to go so I won’t elaborate, but you’ll get it as I advance and give this advice in parables:
If you see a squirrel calling a grasscutter a useless and good-for-nothing rat, as a third party try and get a lesson from what is meant by useless and good-for-nothing, then leave the two rats with their jabber. It’s their wahala.
As a grasscutter, from the foregoing you should know what to do. Listen to the more useless rat — or simple useless rat, as the case may be — and get the point. Learn the lesson and endeavour to improve.
I have nothing for the accusing small rat.
End of rant. I won’t mind a few counter-rants. . . or an open letter that calls to act [eyes rolling]. Don’t worry I won’t call you another rat, ‘cuz you’ve read this and I hope you’ve learnt. [winks]